Sunderland Become First Premier League Casualty While Chelsea Continue Domination
The Premier League had its first casualty over the weekend as Sunderland’s ten-year stay in the top-flight came to an end.
The Black Cats have appeared to be heading towards the Championship all season but their fate was finally sealed after a 1-0 defeat to AFC Bournemouth. Cherries striker Josh King struck late on to condemn the hosts to relegation with four games to spare.
Middlesbrough could well join Sunderland over the next few weeks but they ensured that their own relegation wouldn’t be secured at least for another week after an impressive 2-2 draw with Manchester City. Boro twice went ahead through Alvaro Negredo and Callum Chambers but the Citizens equalised first through Sergio Aguero’s penalty and then Gabriel Jesus. The point also leaves Pep Guardiola’s City in fourth with a point advantage over city rivals, United.
Swansea City still occupy the final relegation place but their 1-1 draw against Manchester United will certainly give them hope that they can survive. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s wonderful free-kick earned the South Wales side a point at Old Trafford, after Wayne Rooney scored a controversial first-half penalty.
The Swans are just two points below Hull City who also earned a point on Saturday. The Tigers drew 0-0 with Southampton, although survived a late scare when Dusan Tadic missed a late spot-kick.
Burnley all but confirmed their Premier League status for next season with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace. Ashley Barnes and substitute Andre Gray each struck either side of half-time to secure the Clarets’ first away win of the season and to lift them up onto 39 points. The Eagles, meanwhile, are back in trouble, despite their good month, and sit six points outside of the relegation zone with three games still to play.
Leicester City’s rise up the table continues under Craig Shakespeare and they edged past West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. Jamie Vardy’s goal two minutes before half-time secured the narrow victory for the Foxes who move up to eleventh. Despite the Baggies’ dip in form, they remain eighth, three points ahead of Southampton who have a game in hand.
At the top of the table, Chelsea remain four points clear of Tottenham Hotspur as both sides recorded victories over the weekend. The Blues defeated Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park thanks to second-half goals from Pedro, Gary Cahill and Willian, while goals from Dele Alli and Harry Kane gave Spurs a North London derby win against Arsenal.
A goal of the season contender from Emre Can ensured Liverpool remain third. Lucas Leiva lofted the ball towards the penalty area and the German swung his body backwards to instinctively bicycle kick the ball majestically towards the top corner. However, it was a goal that the game itself hardly deserved as neither side played particularly well in the narrow 1-0 Liverpool win at Watford.
Finally, Stoke City and West Ham United’s respective seasons continue to peter out as they drew 0-0 at the Britannia Stadium. The Potters moved up to twelfth thanks to the point while the Hammers remain fifteenth.